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The Lessons of Economics

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Following are sample content standards from a draft of voluntary national standards in economics. Along with the content standards for grades 4 and 12 are excerpts of benchmarks for each grade.

GRADE 4
Content Standard
Students will understand that: Students will be able to use this knowledge to:
More goods and services can be produced to raise future standards of living through investment in factories, machinery, new technology, and in the health, education, and training of people. Predict the consequences of investment decisions made by individuals, businesses, and governments.
Benchmarks
At the completion of grade 4, students will know that: At the completion of grade 4, students will use this knowledge to:
When workers learn and practice new skills, they are improving their human capital. Explain why professional athletes often have training equipment in their homes.
GRADE 12
Content Standard
Students will understand that: Students will be able to use this knowledge to:
Costs of some government policies may sometimes exceed benefits because of incentives facing voters, government officials, and government employees, and because of actions by special-interest groups that can impose costs on the general public. Identify some public policies that may cost more than the benefits they generate, and who enjoys the benefits and who bears the costs.
Benchmarks
At the completion of grade 12, students will know that: At the completion of grade 12, students will use this knowledge to:
Citizens, government employees, and elected officials do not always directly bear the costs of their political decisions. This often leads to policies whose costs outweigh their benefits. Predict the costs that would be imposed on the public if federal taxes were reduced by Congress and explain how political goals conflict with economic gain.

SOURCE: National Council on Economic Education.

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